Former President George W. Bush called for an end to partisanship in the nation’s continued battle against the coronavirus, urging Americans to “remember that empathy and simple kindness are essential powerful tools of national recovery.”
"We are not partisan combatants," he said in a video message posted by the George W. Bush Presidential Center on Twitter Saturday. "We're human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together. And we're determined to rise."
The former commander in chief’s message comes as the country grapples with more than 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 66,500 deaths, according to the latest tally by Johns Hopkins University. Bush’s message was originally shared during “The Call to Unite” 24-hour event.
"Medical professionals are risking their own health for the health of others, and we're deeply grateful. Officials at every level are setting out the requirements of public health that protect us all. And we all need to do our part," Bush said.
"We cannot allow physical separation to become emotional isolation," he continued, adding: "This requires us to be not only compassionate but creative in our outreach and people across the nation are using the tools of technology and the cause of solidarity."
Bush, who has remained largely silent during the pandemic, said that following 9/11, he "saw a great nation rises as one to honor the brave to grieve with the grieving and to embrace unavoidable new duties."
"And I have no doubt, none at all, that this spirit of service and sacrifice is alive and well in America," he said.
Despite restrictions like social distancing measures, Bush said Americans "can find ways to be present in the lives of others to ease their anxiety, and share their burdens." And the former president asked that the country "remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat."
Still, President Donald Trump on Sunday sought to dismiss his predecessor’s comments, tweeting that Bush “was nowhere to be found” during Trump’s impeachment trial.